Publications

Published: 12 December 2013

Reporting Adverse Effects from Psychoactive Substances

Prescriber Update 34(4): 40-41
December 2013

Key Messages

  • The Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority seeks the assistance of healthcare professionals to report all adverse effects from patients using psychoactive products to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).
  • Reporting adverse effects plays a crucial role in the reduction of harm to individuals using psychoactive substances.
  • A single report of a severe adverse effect, such as an epileptic seizure, is sufficient to identify a product as posing more than a low risk of harm.


Healthcare professionals are encouraged to report all adverse effects from patients using psychoactive products to the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM).

The Psychoactive Substances Act requires that any psychoactive product approved for use must pose no more than a low risk of harm to individual consumers. The reporting of adverse effects therefore plays a crucial role in the reduction of harm to individuals using psychoactive substances.

A single report can make the difference!

A single report of a severe adverse effect, such as an epileptic seizure, is sufficient to identify a psychoactive product as posing more than a low risk of harm.

Since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect in July 2013, the number of retail outlets selling psychoactive products has reduced by an estimated 95%. The number of products legally available has reduced by an estimated 75%.

Adverse effects to psychoactive products can be reported to CARM by:

Further information about how to report adverse effects can be found on the CARM website (https://nzphvc.otago.ac.nz/reprot/).

More information about the new Psychoactive Substances Act and the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority can be found on the Ministry of Health website (www.health.govt.nz/our-work/regulation-health-and-disability-system/psychoactive-substances).

Bruce Atmore
Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority